Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bears and Packers

Boy, we have hit the Chicago area at just the right moment! Tomorrow is what is being billed as the biggest sports event in the history of Chicago! Imagine it! And we're here! The Chicago Bears meet the Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon to decide who will go into the Super Bowl. The streets will probably be deserted after 3pm everywhere. Sports Bars will be overflowing, and there will be game parties in literally 100,000s of homes. The amount of snack food that has been purchased and will be consumed staggers the imagination. It must run into the $10 millions. Meanwhile Rahm Emmanuel has built a commanding lead in the run-up to the mayoral election. Wow, what a time to be alive!

Earlier today I went with Jerry Hochburger (my brother Stewart's ex wife Maggie's husband and our host), to help with what was billed as a work party to "clean out the undercroft" of their Episcopal Church in Batavia, IL. I had imagined a basement area crammed with an accumulation of church junk from over the years - old hymnals, relics, files of old sunday bulletins, leftover church bazaar items, Sunday School curriculum books long rendered obsolete. I was wrong. It all had to do with one large wide-screen TV set - not working, I presume -- which needed four people to get it up out of the basement into a pickup truck. Now this thing was HUGE -- maybe five feet wide, and almost as tall, and heavy. We had to open an old bulkhead that looked like it hadn't been used for a decade, rusty, overgrown with weeds, and of course covered with snow. The concrete steps leading up out of the bulkhead were dirty and covered with an old plastic. The wide-screen TV had absolutely nothing one could really get a good grip on, and it turned out that this work "party" was me, Jerry, the sexton, Joe, and a woman named Hannah who opted out of wrestling with the TV. So the four-man job turned out to be a three-man job. Jerry and I thought this TV was a piece of junk headed for the landfill. But Joe seemed to have other ideas. He seemed to want to get it out unscratched and upright. This was not easy to do! But we managed it, and got it into the back of his pickup in one piece. We suspected Joe was going to see if he could get it working. Maybe he was hoping to use it for a Bears-Packers party tomorrow. It would sure be the ideal screen for a football party!

After that job was done, the work party seemed to be over. There was a little sweeping to do, but we were out of there a half-hour after we arrived. The ride back to Jerry's house we went along the Fox River on Route 31 through Geneva and St. Charles. What an amazing route that was -- one beautiful riverfront mansion after another, interspersed with parks, nature reserves, vistas of the river, and the occasional quaint village center with lovely shops, old brick and stone Victorian era buildings.A very different view of this area from the usual one we have seen, which is one shopping mall after another.

And all of it so different from our Vermont life.

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